Pitkin County Library users endure makeshift facility during transition | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County Library users endure makeshift facility during transition

The expanded and remodeled Pitkin County Library is on track to open in January.
Courtesy photo |

Pitkin County Library users endure makeshift facility during transition

Pitkin County Library’s temporary location in the former Aspen Art Museum is drawing mixed reviews from users.
“The atmosphere is fine, it’s really just a matter of space,” said author Tracy Poland. “I’m pretty impressed by how well they’ve set up to provide in the meantime. … It’s bare-bone, but all the pieces are there.”
Though some commend the library’s efforts to create this alternative space while the building undergoes renovation, others aren’t impressed with the current situation.
“It’s rather loud, and definitely not a place to go if you’re trying to concentrate,” said Aspen resident Alexandra George, who is preparing to take the LSAT exam in October. “There aren’t any private rooms. Even if it is just for the time being, I think the city should have a better option. Especially in a place as communal as Aspen.”
When George needs a quiet place to study, she drives to the Basalt Library.
George isn’t the only one seeking solutions outside the community.
Pitkin County Librarian Kathleen Chandler said the library and its users are “relying heavily on our neighbors, such as Basalt” to borrow books and other resources.
Although the temporary space couldn’t house all 120,000 of the library’s books — the vast majority of which are in a storage unit in Snowmass, they were able to squeeze all 24 librarians on staff, Chandler said.
“It’s a hassle to be down here, and I’m sorry,” Chandler said. “But it will be worth the wait.”
Chandler said construction is “going along really well,” and that the Pitkin County Library is on track to meet its scheduled opening in January 2016.
“One thing that libraries have done as they have evolved, is that they’ve turned from just being a place that’s a warehouse of information, to where being a place where content is actually created,” Chandler said.
To accommodate this need, the new space will feature “content creation labs, a green screen rooms, sound booths, and a digital lab,” Chandler said, noting that the old library was a quarter of a century old.
The new library will also include a new children’s area, flexible group-study areas, an expanded teen area, and a new commons area, along with a one-story addition of 5,108 square feet and another 2,200 square feet on the mezzanine level.
Another library goals is to “bring more daylight into the building and improve the views,” Chandler said, adding she thinks the newly renovated building “will really knock people’s socks off.”
“Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet,” Chandler smiled.

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